Bavuma fulfils his destiny with Test ton

There are only a few kilometres, 10 of them to be precise, between Newlands and Langa but the gulf between the two areas in Cape Town are massive.

A search on property websites will tell you that the neighbourhood around the cricket stadium, one of the most picturesque in world cricket, is a highly sought after one. Properties are offered for millions.

The same cannot be said for Langa, a township formed in 1927 as a consequence of the 1923 Urban Areas Act, where day to day life is a struggle. The members of the community do not have the luxury of six-figure bank accounts or fancy cars.

But the cricketers in the area do have one incredible asset – Langa Cricket Club.

And on the fourth of day of the second Test between South Africa and England this week, the world’s of Langa and Newlands collided as a batsman went about his business.

The man in question, Temba Bavuma,was probably not thinking about a three figure score when he walked to the middle especially when you consider the match situation with the Proteas still well behind. His mission was to claw the team back and he delivered, capturing the world’s imagination in the process.

When Bavuma reached his century with a boundary through the third man region his celebration was worth taking in as he swung his bat through the air and let out a roar.

But in the press box there was a man equally as ecstatic and while not as vocal about the massive achievement -the first ever century by a black African for South Africa – but the smile on the face of Ezra Cagwe gave it away.

For Cagwe and Bavuma go way back. Their relationship started when Bavuma was a child and his uncles used to play for Langa. Cagwe, who plays a role within Western Province Cricket’s development systems, chuckled when recalling how a then three-year-old Temba would follow them to the nearby ground on their way to matches.

It wasn’t a far distance considering that it was just a street away perhaps a sign from the universe that cricket was always meant to be in Bavuma’s path.

“I hope the boys are watching this on TV because this is big for them. I’m so glad we’ve carried on the programme at Langa,” Cagwe, who has had an association with Langa cricket for almost 50 years, said.

“Now they can see that it’s not just about bowling. We’ve seen some good black bowlers produced but now there’s an opportunity for batsmen to see that it can be done,” he added.

Langa Cricket Club has two fields, the third was turned into a hockey astroturf, and no covers for their pitches if it rains.

When asked what Bavuma was like as a young cricketer the man who formed a massive role in the formative year’s of the batsman’s cricket education both as a teammate – Temba played for Langa’s third XI from the age of 12 – and coach explained that he’d always been a nuggety batsman.

With his size against him, he stands at 1.67m, he had to be. But it also means that the pull and hook shots have become one of Bavuma’s biggest weapons. He’s not fazed by short bowling and tempers those strokes with glorious cover drives and gritty defence.

“He’s calm. He’s always been like that. He had to be really because he always played with guys bigger than him but he was never intimidated,” said Cagwe.

“He’s always been a competitive cricketer. Because of his size he’s had to learn to be very strong and he’s done that by having a strong mind,” said Cagwe.

There was a story floating around that in a match against Somerset West when Bavuma was 12-years-old a member of the opposition walked over to him after he had batted and stuck out it hand.

“I want to shake your hand young man because one day you will play for South Africa,” he was quoted as saying.

Destiny fulfilled. History made.

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